What on earth does it mean? A seat of authority in an animal feeding trough? It seems like a confused, mad idea, and from a human perspective, it is. Totally counter-intuitive. But we believe that God saw things differently when it came to establishing his kingdom in a broken world. He didn't send his Son, Jesus into the world with power and pomp, but in utter humility, identifying with the people who are nothing and have nothing - no status, no influence, no wealth, no home and no hope. Why? To discover a revolutionary new pathway for all humankind, a pathway of love, especially for those who are pushed to the margins ... just like those we serve in Munsieville, South Africa, and in the UK.
Why did Root and Branch Change set up a Manger Throne as a focal point at its Traditional Christmas Market in Chesham, UK, on 1 & 2 December? Because we wanted visitors to the event be stopped in their tracks, to take a moment and reflect. For us, Jesus is everything. He is the one who can transform lives, however low they have sunk. We've seen that transforming power at work, over and over again through this past year - neglected infants on a trajectory toward an early grave, turned around into vibrant, strong toddlers; a young man addicted to crystal meth, shunned by his entire township and reduced to scavenging on a rubbish dump for scraps to fund his habit, radically transformed as he invited Jesus to take charge of his life; and countless others who have no lingering doubts that the one who comes from the Manger Throne is bringing deep, thorough and permanent change to their lives.
Why was the Manger Throne set up in typical South African township shack, and not in the traditional Bethlehem stable scene? The children and families we serve in the South African township of Munsieville did not choose to be raised on a slum, but the remarkable thing about Christmas is that Jesus, the Son of God, did choose to be born in a filthy hovel, to live a life alongside the weak and vulnerable, and be executed as a criminal so that everyone can live in total freedom, now and forever. Setting up the manger on a reproduction of a Munsieville shack just seemed pretty appropriate to us.
Our 2023 Christmas Market and Yuletide Festival is over now, and we would love to thank everyone who attended, all our wonderful volunteers, the artists, crafters and creative geniuses who partnered with us, and our wonderful team at The House of Tree in Chesham, for making this such a huge success, and raising funds to help more children in crisis in South Africa.